An Interview with Rosemary Myers Director for Bluey’s Big Play

Since launching in Australia in 2018, Bluey has gained millions of fans around the world, ranks as the number 1 show on CBeebies in the UK and has been streamed over 450 million times since it launched on BBC iPlayer. It’s also had an incredible 5.7 billion lifetime views across its official Bluey YouTube channel porfolio. Now, fresh from tours of Australia and the U.S., the worldwide Bluey phenomenon is coming to theatre across the UK.

As the first-ever stage adaptation of the hugely successful animated Australian children’s TV show, Bluey’s Big Play expands the seven-minute episode format into a fully-fledged theatrical production with a script by Bluey creator Joe Brumm, new music by Joff Bush (who also scores the TV version) and pre-recorded voices by original cast members, including Dave McCormack as Bandit and Melanie Zanetti as Chilli.

Moveable sets and actor-controlled puppets bring the story and characters to life, with director Rose Myers explaining: “We very much wanted to represent the world of Bluey because when people come to this show they want to see Bluey on stage and to be in the room with her and her family.”

Since it first began airing in 2018, the series has centred around the idea of imaginative play with brilliantly-observed moments of modern family life. Bluey’s Big Play reflects those themes with a story about Bluey’s mum Chilli and her relationship with her sister, which is weaved into the relationships between sisters Bluey and Bingo, as well as a plot line about dad Bandit spending too much time on his phone when he should be playing with his kids.

With the live show, which toured Australia in 2021 and American the following year, the decision was made to use larger-than-life puppets. “The show is playing in large spaces,” Rose elaborates, “and you want the kids at the back to have a great experience, so the puppets are quite large.”

The creators have weaved in some fan-favourite moments from the small screen. “And there are a lot of the games that the kids know from TV,” Myers adds, “as well as audience participation to keep them really engaged. It’s got something for the kids and it’s also got something for the adults. There’s a lot of artistry to the TV show and we translate that into a beautiful piece of theatre.”

As one of the first shows to open after the pandemic, Bluey’s Big Play was rapturously received by audiences coming out of the world’s longest lockdown. It was also a sold-out sensation in the States and Myers was blown away by the reaction to it when it played at London’s Royal Festival Hall over Christmas, ahead of the tour moving on to several other venues across the UK and Ireland: “When we got to London we thought ‘Will the audience be a bit more refined and conservative?’ but that wasn’t the case at all. The UK and Ireland has that panto culture, so they were really vocal in their responses.”

As for what she hopes people will take away from seeing the play as it now makes its way around the country, she smiles: “This is an example of a pretty happy family and they’re a great source of joy for audiences. You see parents with their kids, all of them engaged and enjoying the show, and the cast walk out on stage like they’re rock stars because there’s so much love for Bluey and her family. It’s about the love between family members and about taking those special moments to be together and enjoy them.”

You can book your tickets for Bluey’s Big Play here!